Round and About in Old Isleworth

 

Always pleasurable to start with good news, in this instance arrival at Isleworth Leisure Centre on 28th June of the Vincent Van Gogh bust donated by sculptor Anthony Padgett.  Currently it is being displayed in a rather obscure corner of the Library contained in a cabinet along with busts of local brewer and benefactor, John Farnell, and philanthropist and author Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton.   The cabinet requires some repair while the accompanying busts are in need of renovation.  Mr Padgett has kindly offered he may be able to assist with the latter. A decision is also awaited on the permanent location within the Leisure/Library complex.  For these reasons, a formal “unveiling” ceremony which the sculptor will attend will not take place for a while longer. 

Naming of the development at 579 London Road reflects local connections with the Worton Hall Isleworth Film Studios operating from 1914. Samuelson Place is a reminder of the first producer and owner, George Berthold Samuelson, whose initials someone once told him stood for Get Busy Sam.  Individual apartment blocks are called Emeric, Fairbanks and Gilliat House respectively, the latter after Sidney Gilliat, producer/director of Secret State filmed at Isleworth in 1950 starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr making a return to the studios he had once owned.  It is thought the choice of Emeric refers to British Hungarian screenwriter, director and producer possibly best known for the film The Red Shoes. 

Formal opening of the flats, possibly mid-October, is hoped to include a descendant of Mr. Samuelson.  One suggestion is the ribbon could be a printed version of a film roll.   Another novel idea is to stage a mock-up of the Mission/Methodist church as portrayed in award winning The African Queen filmed 1951 at the end of the studios time in Isleworth. A further celebration may take place later to include relevant film showings at West Thames College.

Abrupt closure some years back of well loved ironmongers T. Taylors & Sons at 1-2 The Pavement, South Street, has ever since been mourned and the subject of speculation.  It is known the business was insolvent and went into liquidation. Recent word was that when put up for auction by Liquidators, who are responsible for disposing of the assets and distributing proceeds to creditors, the property failed to reach its reserve.   However, a planning application has now been submitted for internal and external refurbishment, including replacement shop front, and re-development works to create a retail unit with residential above.  The type of retail is very unclear as there is conflicting information provided.  The proposal also seeks to demolish rear outrigging and erect a two-storey extension with roof space to create a town house in Algar Road.

At All Saints’ Church, through a joint effort by enthusiastic local residents, hard core has been laid to improve the rear entrance path leading off Park Road.  In addition, moves are afoot to resurrect an earlier plan to better manage the churchyard which has been woefully neglected lately and is now in an extremely overgrown state.  The idea is to implement a variety of grass cutting regimes from short cut at the front of the church as is the case at present, to longer intervals of cut to suit individual locations throughout the site and preserve wildlife areas. Planting of summer and spring flowers with a wild daffodil area is also envisaged. Implementation is likely to take some time as it necessitates applying for grants to fund the project and to the Diocese for a Faculty which is more or less the ecclesiastical equivalent of planning permission.

This year the prestigious Green Flag awards in the Borough, recognising a high standard of park maintenance, were down from fourteen to eleven.   In Isleworth only St John’s Gardens made the grade this time although it is known Thornbury and Redlees were also assessed during the judging period. 

Welcome news for Redlees is that two tennis courts there have been refurbished courtesy of Strike Sports with this new tennis provider offering a full programme for juniors and adults of all ages and abilities.  For more information, contact Head Coach Matthew Griffiths, Tel.07719702380, email mattgriffiths@mystrikesports.co.uk    

Conversely a meeting held at Redlees mid-June was poorly attended. Its primary purpose was to outline proposals for the disused changing rooms/depot area to be replaced by hard landscaping bordered by trees, to encourage community usage for events, displays, markets etc.  This will limit vehicle access to the bowls club and their representatives unsurprisingly expressed concerns.  Nonetheless work to demolish the changing rooms is scheduled during September with completion of the project expected October.  At that time some new seating and litter bins will be provided in the main part of the park using the £20,000 Community Infrastructure Levy monies allocated at TIS’s request.   Meantime the outcome has still not been announced as to how or if parking charges will be implemented at the park and Leisure Centre but it has been suggested that for such as bowls club members and regular users of the studios issue of passes costing, say, £25 to last the life of a car could form a part of any proposals.

Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) restricting long term parking other than for residents who apply for the requisite permit seem to be the order of the day. Annual cost to residents for a first car ranges, depending on vehicle type, from £50 - £130 and for commercial businesses £506.25, with private business permits coming in at £753.75.  Proposals are already in train to implement later in the year CPZs for Linkfield and St John’s Roads and those leading off.

Initial consultation returns indicated possible support for a CPZ timed for Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. for part of Church Street and Mill Plat. A further consultation was initiated at the end of June to check whether support for a CPZ is upheld and confirm operational times.  Church Street area north-east of Bridge Wharf Road including the river embankment is proposed would be “resident only” for those with valid permits and who purchase visitor permits, but also “shared-use” parking restricted to one hour accessed by pay-and-display during the CPZ agreed times.  The remainder of the road has single and double yellow lines, the latter operating at all times although permitting loading for 20 minutes.  For Mill Plat the restrictions would be resident parking only.

One downside to introduction of wheelie bins in 2016/7 has been and increase in fly-tipping, with some more thoughtless residents perceiving it acceptable to dump any overflow of black bags in the street leaving Hounslow Highways to pick up the debris. A definition of fly-tipping is “domestic waste in the wrong place” and while in some instances this can be dealt with by the street cleansing teams during their rounds, on the whole it is up to civic minded residents to report it when spotted, via  www.hounslowhighways.org.uk or by calling 020 8583 2000. They have an obligation to remove offending items within 24 hours of receiving reports. The same number is used to report problems in parks, or email parks@hounslow.gov.uk.

In 2017 Hounslow Highways dealt with some 20,500 street cleansing enquiries logged, a sizeable majority for fly-tipping.  Investigations were carried out in 3,689 instances to ascertain the culprits resulting in 844 Fixed Penalty Notice fines up to a maximum of £400 each. Additional more serious cases were referred to Magistrates Courts.

On the subject of the street scene, further email exchanges ensued in TIS’s disagreement with Royal Mail over how many pillar boxes in TW7 had received their five yearly allocation of paint.  This resulted in the answer “We will carry out a survey and revert with the outcome in two weeks”.   They didn’t come back in the allotted time but during it, lo and behold, gradually boxes in the area took on a brighter shade of red.  It’s a shame there was little preparation work as to rubbing down old paint and filling in gaps but the outcome is much better than no work at all until 2021-2 as indicated previously.

TIS is affiliated to Civic Voice, a national charity which supports Societies such as ours in promoting civic pride by lobbying Government for measures to make places more attractive and distinctive.  Current campaigns include sponsoring The Big Conservation Conversation, Saving High Streets, encouraging Local Authorities to improve/update Local Lists and Removal of Street Clutter.  On this latter, Hounslow Highways received an Award for “Removing Clutter in Hounslow”.  As an experiment TIS sent them a list of some 10 instances where Isleworth could benefit from some action.   They are working through the list but so far progress is slow.

On the topic of Civic Voice, annually they sponsor categories of Design Awards. This year Sandycombe Lodge, Twickenham, one-time home of landscape artist J M W Turner won The People’s Award and was runner up in the Historic Buildings category.   Sandycombe was described as “a little gem” and “an example to the community”, a tribute to the hard work of Friends of Turner’s House and Turner’s Trust in achieving the impressive and extensive restoration work enabling the house to open regularly to the public.

At Brentford there is beneficial news for Grade l Boston Manor House built 1624 for Lady Mary Read which has among its many attractions a fine plaster ceiling and mantlepiece in its State Drawing Room.  Currently the building is on the Heritage at Risk Register but the Council’s bid for National Lottery second stage funding of £3m has been successful.   This means the house will close to the public for a couple of years after October 2018 to accommodate structural and building repairs as well as accessibility improvements to all parts of the house (see also Events of Interest).

TAILEND MORSELS

Following closure months ago, scaffolding has now gone up around the Duchess Gate at Syon Park to enable work to remedy defects. Ferry House, Park Road is up for sale, a snip at £8m.  The riverside walkway at Swan & White Lion Court has re-opened providing a continuous footpath from Richmond Road to 20 Church Street.  The neglected landscaped area in Isleworth station’s car park has been tidied up by South Western Railway. The War Memorial clock, notorious for being 10 minutes wrong, currently shows the correct time.  Work may commence shortly on re-paving Lower Square mostly courtesy of the Old Blue School development. Ormiston Wire based in Worton Road is holding a celebratory event marking 225 years as a family firm, no mean achievement.  TIS is honoured to have been invited to attend and offers them heartfelt congratulations.